We all want this to be over, but the end seems far away. We have hopes that the veterans might be able to turn things around, but we’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that whether law enforcement allows a peaceful protest or they attack veterans and the Water Protesters around them, this is likely to drag on.
I have seen and experienced a lot of low moral. We all know that we need millions of people to come together in order to end this, but we do not yet seem to have the collective will or people willing to take action.
Our collective anxiety comes from what we feel is a constant threat of attack along with the Governor making statements about road blocks then removing road blocks but fining people $1,000 for bringing supplies but now maybe not; the eviction notice, later clarified, sort of; the weather with snow, ice, and blistering winds; concerns over our camps and actions being infiltrated by operatives working for law enforcement and the mercenary groups working for DAPL; the concern that DAPL is already digging under the river.
We are up against psychological warfare as much as we are physical brutality being carried out by law enforcement.
Now, most of the productive people’s time is spent trying to winterize the camp and care for people without heat or proper winter gear. We feel like we are being distracted from trying to stop the pipeline due to whether concerns that we also believe have to be addressed.
This struggle is much more dynamic and complex than a mere protest. We are fighting for our survival in a number of ways.
And part of our struggle for survival involves the fact that, yes, we are trying to make dirty, lazy hippies feel unwelcome because there are, unfortunately, people who are treating this place like a hippie festival and who come out here and eat our food and use our resources without offering to do the work that desperately needs to be done. They are consuming things that the people here are relying upon to make it through the winter–things we need in order to survive.
That being said, we are all fighting to stay positive. We are hopeful that the veterans being here will bring about something positive. We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, my brother, Joshua White, is organizing a group of protectors to act as human shields to protect our medics from whatever the police decide to shoot at us the next time. I will be a member of that group, doing what I can to shield the injured and our medics with my body.
We will also be working to remove any instigators, infiltrators, and anyone who is acting out of line and who might get people hurt by escalating tensions with law enforcement.
I know there are a lot of politics and mixed feelings coupled with an avalanche of unverified claims and misinformation coming from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
I cannot sort through it all to give you a clear fact sheet of what is true and what is not.
But I can understand that water is life. I can understand when law enforcement is hurting the people around me and when they are shooting at me, myself, with rubber bullets, stun grenades, pepper spray, tear gas, and water cannons, that something is incredibly wrong.
I did not shout obscenities or throw things at the police. So why did they shoot me with a water cannon? Because one or two people threw water bottles? That justifies the response of near lethal force?
What’s happening here is not right.
The media has failed utterly.
Law enforcement has figured out that they can create whatever truth they want and that the papers will run it.
The only chance we have is for millions of people to come together to say enough is enough.
I want to go home. I want to watch my children grow. But I also want the world to be a safe place for them.
I do not ever want my children to be assaulted by police for standing up for what they believe through our constitutionally protected right to protest. I want them to have clean water to drink and air to breath. I want them to have a planet that will be livable for them and their children. I want them to live in a world where all life is respected.
That is why I am here. That is why I will march to the front line tomorrow.
There is no longer a place in my heart for me to remain on the sidelines. Action is required. If we do not act, who will?